Baingan Bharta is a spicy, tangy & smoky flavored Indian recipe made by mashing roasted eggplants (brinjal / aubergine) with Indian spices along with sautéed tomatoes and onions etc.
This aromatic dish is delicious & irresistible due to its unique smoky aroma, and is liked even by kids and people who otherwise are not so fond of eating eggplant based recipes.
What is bharta?
The word bharta refers to Indian dishes where the main ingredient like eggplants or potatoes are usually roasted and mashed. Then they are cooked with spices and often with combination of onions, tomatoes, green chilies, ginger, garlic etc.
While baingan ka bharta is the dominant one, there are more types of barthas like aloo ka bharta which uses potato, shalgam ka bharta based on turnip and many other types especially in east India and Bangladesh.
There are many regional variations of baigan bharta, but the Punjabi bharta and flavors are the ones most commonly known.
Various ways to roast the eggplants
Roasting the eggplants is the main step of this recipe and it can be done in various ways :
- Tandoor – The traditional way of making this recipe is to roast the eggplants over an open fire or in a tandoor to get the skin charred all around. This method is not viable for cooking in most homes, and is now less used but remains the most authentic ways of making this dish. If you have an outdoor grill or barbeque, you can roast the eggplants over it.
- Gas stove – In most homes, the bharta is made by roasting the eggplants over an open medium flame on a gas stove. You should keep rotating the eggplant over the flame so that it gets cooked evenly. The entire process will take about 10 minutes. This is the best method to use at home if you want to make authentic tasting baingan bharta, however it requires a long time to clean up the stove after roasting the eggplant. You can place an aluminium foil around the gas burner to make cleanup easier.
- Oven – This is my go to method for making the bharta, since it doesn’t require any cleanup or much monitoring. To roast the eggplants in an oven for baingan bharta, preheat it to 400 F or 200 C. Then bake the eggplants for around 40 minutes till they are soft, turning them 2-3 times in between to cook them evenly. Then turn on the broiler to high and broil them for 5-10 minutes, again turning them midway. Broiling the eggplants will give them the characteristic smoky charred flavor.
- Air Fryer – Air frying the eggplants it another quick & easy option for making baingan bharta. Air fry them on 400 F or 200 C for 15-20 minutes, turning them midway, till the eggplants are cooked.
- Add directly – If you are short on time, you can peel, chop and directly cook the eggplants without roasting them. You would not get the charred flavor, however, the dish still comes out delicious.
Some handy tips for making baingan bharta
Below I have listed down a few things to keep in mind while preparing this recipe:
- Choose a firm, big, juicy, lightweight, round/globular type eggplant as it lends itself better to roasting and yields more pulp after the burnt skin is removed. A lightweight eggplant often has few and small seeds.
- A key requirement of this recipe is that the eggplant is cooked perfectly. The signs to watch are the eggplant caving in, skin getting charred and outer flesh getting soft. Cook the eggplant well till the skin chars and starts curling and they are ready to be peeled.
- If cooking in an open flame, keep rotating so that the eggplant gets cooked evenly. If cooking in an oven or airfryer, turn over the eggplant several times during cooking.
- You can also roast garlic, green chillies and tomatoes along with the eggplant for a more delicious and smoky flavor.
- Fresh green peas can also be added to the recipe.
- Mustard oil is the first choice as a cooking oil for this recipe. Other refined oils can also be used. Some people also prefer using ghee for adding richness to the dish.
This dish is a great healthy option to satisfy your cravings for something spicy and aromatic. This is a vegan, gluten free, low carb and low-fat dish, while containing a decent amount of minerals, vitamins and nutrients.
Brinjals are rich in folate, which is essential for producing red blood cells and thus ward of anemia. Eggplants are also rich in anthocyanins, a pigment with antioxidant properties. This pigment is also responsible for their vibrant color.
Baingan bharta is best enjoyed hot, garnished with some fresh coriander leaves. You can serve it with any Indian breads like roti, paratha, laccha paratha, naan or puri.
To make Baingan Bharta at home follow the detailed step by step recipe with photos posted below.
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Baingan Bharta Recipe | Roasted Eggplant Mash
Ingredients For Baingan Bharta Recipe | Roasted Eggplant Mash
- 1 Medium (500 gm) Eggplant (Baingan)
- 1 Large Onion
- 2 Large Tomatoes
- 2 Green Chillies
- 6 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 Inch Piece of Ginger
- 1/4 Cup Coriander Leaves (Cilantro or Dhaniya)
- 1 Teaspoon Rai (Black Mustard Seeds)
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Heeng (Asafoetida)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder (Dhaniya Powder)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Mustard Oil (Sarson Ka Tel)
Step By Step Instructions for Baingan Bharta Recipe | Roasted Eggplant Mash
Roasting the eggplants & vegetables
- Wash and pat dry a medium sized eggplant. Make 4 slits lengthwise from top to bottom on the eggplant.1 Medium (500 gm) Eggplant (Baingan)
- Insert 1-2 cloves of garlic along with their peel in each slit. This will hold the slits open and let the eggplant get roasted thoroughly from inside.6 Cloves of Garlic
- Rub some oil all over the eggplant.
- Make a lengthwise slit on the green chillies. Also make 2 lengthwise slits on the tomatoes. Rub oil over the tomatoes & chillies as well.2 Green Chillies, 2 Large Tomatoes
- You can roast the eggplant over flame, in the oven or in airfryer. I have roasted the eggplant in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the eggplant, tomatoes and green chillies on a lined baking tray and place them in the oven.
- After 10 mins take out the green chillies and flip over the eggplant and tomatoes. Bake for 10 more mins.
- Take out the tomatoes and let the eggplants bake for 15-20 more mins till they are soft & cooked. Then broil them on high setting for 5-10 minutes to develop a charred skin to get the smoky flavor.
- In the meantime, remove the skin from the tomatoes.
- Mash or chop the roasted tomatoes and set them aside.
- When the eggplant is roasted, remove it from the oven. Peel the skin from the eggplant or cut it and scoop out the pulp. Also peel the garlic cloves.
- Mash or chop the eggplants, green chillies and garlic cloves.
Preparing the bharta
- Heat some mustard oil in a pan. Add some black mustard seeds (rai) and let them crackle. Then add cumin seeds (jeera) and heeng (asafoetida) and roast for a few seconds.1 Teaspoon Rai (Black Mustard Seeds), 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Jeera), 1 Tablespoon Mustard Oil (Sarson Ka Tel), 1/4 Teaspoon Heeng (Asafoetida)
- Add some finely chopped onions to the pan.1 Large Onion
- Also add some ginger paste. Fry the onions on medium-high flame, till they start to turn golden brown.1 Inch Piece of Ginger
- Then add turmeric powder (haldi), red chilli powder, coriander powder (dhania), garam masala and salt. Cook for a minute.1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Haldi), 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder, 1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala, 1 Teaspoon Salt, 1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder (Dhaniya Powder)
- Add the chopped roasted tomatoes to the pan.
- Cook the gravy for 2-3 minutes till it starts to leave oil on the sides.
- Add the mashed eggplants green chillies and garlic to the gravy.
- Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes, till the vegetables and spices are well incorporated.
- Add finely chopped coriander leaves to the bharta.1/4 Cup Coriander Leaves (Cilantro or Dhaniya)
- Mix well and cook for a minute. Then turn off the heat.
- Baingan Bharta is ready. Serve it hot with fresh chapati, naan, or any other Indian bread.
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